Capsule Women's trade show

Capsule trade show organizers are taking a novel approach with its brand at retail that they hope could pay dividends in the future.

The trade show will debut on the West Coast in Los Angeles Oct. 17-18 at the California Market Center but in the lead-up to and in the months following the two-day market, it will operate a rotating pop-up in Culver City.

The multibranded pop-up, called Capsule Concept, kicks off next week and runs through December. Each month will rotate in a new theme. The first will be all things beach-related, starting Oct. 4 and running through the end of the month.

More than 25 brands will participate in the first round, ranging from swimsuits, resortwear, sunglasses, hats and other accessories from brands such as Stone Fox, Ace & Jig, A Peace Treaty, Garrett Leight and Flagpole. The store will also be stocked with Taschen books and skin-care products from Ursa Major and Eir NYC among others.

In November, the store’s merchandise will shift to activewear and in December will move to sell beauty and apothecary lines. Some 80 to 100 brands will have participated in Capsule Concept by the end of its three-month run.

Operating a store at the retail center Platform came about when show organizers were contacted by Runyon Group, the project’s developers.

“We’ve wanted to do some kind of semi-permanent to permanent retail space for years,” said Deirdre Maloney, cofounder of Capsule and fashion consultancy BPMW. “Platform has done a really amazing job curating the stores and making it a hub for the twentysomething, thirtysomething and early-fortysomething customer who maybe doesn’t want to shop at big box retailers but also likes the convenience of having a bunch of options nearby so it seemed like a perfect home for us.”

It’s a good way of drumming up excitement around the two-day business event, but also in line with a longer-term vision that’s about building up the brand outside of its usual business-to-business circle.

“In this day and age, all trade shows and all B2B businesses across the board need to have one eye on the consumer because things might change a lot in the next few years,” Maloney said. “Capsule is known within the industry. We’re just starting to plant little seeds [among consumers] as we monitor what’s happening with the business going forward in the event we do start incorporating more of a consumer element to our trade shows.”

It already dabbled in that with the Capsule Market Square concept in December of 2013 and 2014 when it had anywhere from 60 to 85 brands selling product to consumers that was very much in line with what’s shown at the Capsule trade show. The shows attracted between 2,500 and 3,500 customers over a two-and-a-half-day period.

The L.A. iteration is much smaller in size, totaling 750 square feet, compared to the 30,000 square feet that made up Market Square.

Still, if it’s successful the concept could very well become something permanent, according to Maloney, who called Platform a three-month trial.

Would the trade show ever consider a true merging of the actual show for buyers with something consumer focused? It’s not something being eyed for the short-term, she said.

“For now, we’ve been keeping them separate and I don’t feel now is the right time to merge but I think keeping an eye on the future is in everybody’s best interest,” Maloney said. “There’s no harm in doing this and in the end it just gives a great platform for some of our brands and helps us promote really hot categories.”

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